Austria 1-1 Uruguay
5 March 2014
Wörthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt
Scorers: Janko (Austria); Peirera (Uruguay)
Austria threatened to snatch the UFWC title from unofficial champions Uruguay in this international friendly in Klagenfurt. The home side led for more than 50 minutes thanks to a goal from Marc Janko of Trabzonspor. But a scrappy equaliser saved Uruguay, with a draw on the night sufficient for them to retain the title, and continue the UFWC’s journey towards the World Cup Finals in Brazil.
Marcel Koller’s Austria lined up with Marko Arnautovic of Stoke City and Martin Harnik of Stuttgart in advanced roles alongside Janko. Uruguay, meanwhile, replaced the injured Edinson Cavani with Christian Stuani, alongside Diego Forlan – Uruguay’s most-capped player – and Luis Suarez – Uruguay’s all-time top scorer.
Janko’s goal came in the 14th minute, following good play from his strike partners, and an error from Uruguay’s Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin.
Uruguay looked for a quick equaliser, and almost got one through Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, who crashed a 30-yard free-kick off the Austrian crossbar.
Both sides lost central defenders to injury in the first half. First Garics was replaced by Klein, and then West Brom’s Diego Lugano was replaced by Jose Maria Gimenez. And Giminez soon came close to scoring, flicking a Suarez header just wide of the post.
Oscar Tabarez made two further changes at half-time, taking the opportunity to experiment ahead of the World Cup. Gaston Ramirez of Southampton and Walter Gargano of Parma replaced Forlan and Diego Perez.
Uruguay’s 66th-minute equaliser was very messy. After a couple of headers in the Austria box, the ball fell at the feet of Christian Stuani who, facing away from goal, backheeled the ball, via a couple of deflections, past keeper Robert Almer. Stuani claimed the goal, although it looked like substitute Alvaro Pereira of Brazil’s Sao Paulo club had the final touch, poking the ball over the line.
Uruguay had slightly more of the play as the second half continued. A raft of further substitutions disrupted the game, and there were few goal-scoring chances. Suarez flashed another decent free kick just wide, but that was the nearest either side came to adding to the scoreline. The game finished 1-1.
So Uruguay retain the UFWC title and remain Unofficial Football World Champions. Uruguay’s next match, and therefore the next UFWC title match, is on 30 May against Northern Ireland. “Norn Iron” have won five title matches in the past, but haven’t competed in the UFWC since 1997.
Also, if you haven’t already got your copy, the brand new 2014 edition of the official UFWC book, Unofficial Football World Champions, is out now, in paperback and on Kindle and iPad.